It’s not easy to put together a Top 10 Best China Waterfalls List because it’s completely subjective and limited to each person’s experience with the mentioned waterfalls.
Indeed, since we only make these lists based on our own personal experiences, the sheer size of the country made this task that much more difficult!
As you can see, by publishing this page, we felt we had an extensive enough of a collection of waterfalling experiences in China to even have a somewhat respectable list.
However, I personally felt we could improve this top 10 list with a return trip. That way, we could sample more of the country’s waterfalls. When that will happen remains unknown, however.
Even though I feel this list has a ways to go before I find it satisfactory, at least you can have a look at the ones we’ve liked the most so far.
So without further ado, we present our favorite Chinese waterfalls in reverse order…
This series of at least ten or so waterfalls amongst the famous karst scenery of the Guilin area seemed more like a play waterfall.
We witnessed many people with hard hats and climbing gear as they clung onto and climbed each of the falls.
And even if we didn’t have the appetite for getting wet on a river walk and climb, we still got to experience each of the falls on a well-established trail.
The last waterfall we encountered featured an incense-burning shrine. It could very well be the first time we witnessed (and smelled) such a juxtaposition of a little shrine right next to a waterfall.
While this area can get quite hot and humid, we felt refreshed by the cooling effects of the water. And thus for its interactivity and scenic allure, we gave this falls a spot on our list of China’s best.
This pleasingly percolating waterfall sat at the heart of the Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve in the north end of the Sichuan Province.
It was a fitting waterfall as it sat between attractive and clear blue lakes. Such lakes were signature features of what I believe to be China’s real-life Shangri-La.
Just downstream of this waterfall sat some old mills as well as a colorful Tibetan village.
While the Jiuzhaigou Valley could get a bit crowded, we could clearly see the reason for such popularity. So we had no issues including it on our list.
This unusual waterfall went through what appeared to be a natural arch or tunnel. Truthfully, we can’t be sure of whether human intervention helped the span along.
Nevertheless, it sat within the Longgong (Dragon’s Palace) Caves, which featured an impressive series of limestone caves.
Even the walk to get up to the cave system included a wide intermediate waterfall along the way as a bonus.
So given the overall experience surrounding this waterfall, we felt compelled to give the falls props by including it on this list.
This impressive 68m waterfall sat near the summit of the Everwhite Mountain (also known as Changbai Shan when spelled out in pinyin).
While the crater lake atop this mountain (shared with North Korea) tends to see harsh Siberian Winters, we also noticed a bit of geological activity on its slopes. Indeed, the walk up to the waterfall passed by colorful thermal springs and pools. Even some locals sold eggs boiled in the springs!
In fact, we’ve heard the water flowing over the falls has enough geothermal heat to ensure it never freezes.
We certainly witnessed this in action during our ill-timed visit. I really wished we could have revisited this place four months later for a better experience.
Nonetheless, just imagine how much higher we would rank this falls under better conditions.
Julie and I didn’t expect to visit this waterfall since we hadn’t included it on our pre-trip itinerary.
Luckily, the same admission tickets that got us into the Huangguoshu Waterfall were also valid for this falls so we made a stop here.
And we wound up visiting one of the wider and pleasing waterfalls during our first China trip.
Moreover, unlike the other well-known waterfalls in the country, we enjoyed a much quieter and more intimate experience. Apparently, the well-known Huangguoshu Waterfall overshadowed this one so it didn’t seem to be that well-known.
So taking everything together, this falls certainly deserved a mention amongst our favorite Chinese waterfalls so far.
This could very well be the most well-known waterfall in the Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve because you practically can’t miss it. After all, we spotted this right off the main road.
Besides it position, this could very well be the widest waterfall in the reserve. We even struggled to figure out a way to try to capture the whole thing in one shot.
Plus, its jagged underlying cliff contrasted the more static features of Jiuzhaigou like the clear, colorful lakes and cloud-shrouded mountains. Thus, this waterfall stood out among this cornucopia of sights.
It demonstrated just how dynamic China’s ever-evolving Shangri-La can and will continue to be…
According to our Tibetan guide, he claimed that this was the most beautiful waterfall in Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve.
And after looking back at our photos and logs while comparing it to the nearby Nuorilang Waterfall, it’s a claim that’s hard to dispute.
After all, it drains one of the most beautiful clear blue lakes we’ve ever seen (I think it was called Five Flower Lake) and it was nearby the Panda Lake Waterfall.
We did a very enjoyable one-way shuttle walk going past this waterfall and ultimately arriving at a shuttle stop further downhill.
Our visit was ill-timed as I’d argue April/May is not the time to be here. So I’m hoping for a re-visit.
That said, just imagine how much higher of a ranking this would have gotten had we made our visit in the Autumn?
This raging waterfall on the famed Yellow River straddling the provinces of Shaanxi and Shanxi was a sight to behold.
Not only did it contrast the seemingly dry and desolate environment, but it featured a brownish (perhaps “yellowish”) color that no doubt carried the similarly-colored sediments in raging through the deserts of this part of China.
We really went out of our way from the Terracota Soldiers of Xi’an to make it all the way to this falls and back in a day (and we didn’t get to see it from the other side), but it was an unusual waterfalling experience that we savored well after we returned home.
And it’s for such memories that we had to honor this waterfall with a place on this list of best waterfalls in China.
Widely regarded as China’s most famous waterfall as well as one of its biggest at 74m tall and 81m wide, we felt its classically squarish shape and character stood out amongst its attributes.
The thunderous wall of water also possessed grace with its parallel strands of water exposing the Curtain Cave behind it.
In fact, Julie and I went into that cave, which allowed us to look out from behind wall of water for an experience that few other waterfalls of this size would allow.
The cave was just part of a longer loop walk that allowed us to witness the falls from various angles.
We didn’t find any of the namesake yellow fruit trees here, but certainly you will find lots of other people eagerly taking photos who also probably think this is among their favorite Chinese waterfalls, too!
If you combine the main multi-tiered falls with the neighboring Ban Gioc Waterfall in Vietnam, this could have been one of the largest (if not the largest) waterfalls in China.
However, this waterfall had more than size going for it.
Indeed, we thought the backdrop of ghostly karst mountains (reminiscent of Guilin) penetrating the often steamy and misty air that really give this falls the character and scenery that ultimately put it at the top of our Top 10 Best China Waterfalls List.
This waterfall could’ve possibly cracked the World’s Top 10 had we not come when the falls was at its lowest flow for the year in late April 2009.
So if we already think this is the best Chinese waterfall as is, what does that say had we come closer to the end of the rainy season?
We certainly hope to have that chance and see it the way it ought to be seen!
Looking for more of our favorites?
Below are a few more Top 10 lists of the waterfalls we’ve visited
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